I’m only now realising the importance, and the joy, of reading scripts.I did read some when I was ‘learning the craft’, but then I stopped. I didn’t want to pollute my own creativity. That stupid decision probably set my writing back a number of years.
Reading scripts from good movies will help you to see what makes them great movies. Sure the acting will be amazing and the photography will be stunning. But the script will show you the underlying bones; the elements that drew the actors, directors, producers, etc to want to make the movie.
If you want to be a writer, don’t worry so much about writing. Read as much as you can. Read as many different writers as you can. Soak up the styles. (R. L. Stine)
Find some scripts for you favourite movies. Are read them start-to-finish. You will already know what it looks like and what the pacing is, so you can think about the words the writer used to describe those scenes. And how the dialogue looks on the page.
I’ve heard some people say that you should read the script at the same time as watching the movie. But most of the scripts I find are not for the final shoot or edit. So I’d prefer to read the script a few days after watching the film.
It is also good to read some screenplays for films that you have not seen. This is how the producers and directors will first see it. It’s best to choose films that have been nominated for Oscars. That way you know that it’s got some quality behind it. You can take a guess at where the major beats are,and where the acts would roughly start and end.
I had planned to read a script every week. Maybe one a fortnight is more realistic. Either way it is already making a difference to how I think about writing, and I can thoroughly recommend every writer to do the same.
There are many places to find scripts online. http://www.simplyscripts.com is a fairly good site to start with.